When Mikayla Zazon bought a new bikini this summer, she bought it in plus size.
Although the Columbus, Ohio health coach and blogger says it was initially hard to wrap her mind around her purchase, she’s now speaking out on Instagram about how your size doesn’t define your health — or your life.
“This bikini is the first plus size item I’ve ever ordered. It was very difficult for me to wrap my mind around that, but ultimately your size has no negative connotation around it if you take care of yourself. A healthy mind/heart/soul/gut can look drastically different in each person,” wrote Zazon. “You would never think to judge someone’s health, if on the outside they looked like they had everything together, as well as presented themselves that way too. When I was at my worst health, people were asking me for workout plans, nutrition plans, telling me that they wished they looked like me. I’m not my healthiest, but I’m the most healthy and balanced I have ever been in my life. Healthy is all different weights, healthy can be plus size, healthy can be a small, healthy can be whatever the hell it ends up looking like on you.”
The 22-year-old’s attitude was well-received by her followers, with many even thanking the blogger for showing pride for a body they can relate to.
“This is one of the first times I’ve ever seen a photo on Instagram and stopped and said ‘wow she’s gorgeous!’ and then looked down realized that my body looks the same. I’ve never felt that my body was something to be proud of, but you absolutely owning it and loving yourself makes me realize just how beautiful we are,” wrote one reader.
“I’ve never worn a swim suit, I purchased some because we are going to Vegas. You’re owning it! I wish to look half as good as you in a swimsuit. I feel your positive vibes radiating my way!” added another.
With 10,000 likes and more than 200 comments, it’s clear the blogger is resonating with her followers — which was her goal when starting her Instagram page.
“I have a passion for helping people, and through social media I want to help women feel empowered and supported by me through their body positive journey. Diet culture has warped the minds of our society and it’s my mission to shatter the unattainable standards social media has given us,” she told Yahoo Canada.
With honest recounts of her daily workouts, meals and journey to body positivity, Zazon’s Instagram reflects on her previous struggles with bulimia, depression and binge eating. Often highlighting how she has changed since overcoming the disease, she speaks openly and honestly about her body positivity journey.
“I was never inspired to become body positive. Instead, my eating disorder and mental health recovery guided me there,” she said. “I’m still not sure what triggered me, but a few months ago I had a mental breakdown that told me it was time to get help. I gained weight due to hormone imbalances from my eating disorder and it was then that I knew I couldn’t be the only one dealing with the mental health struggles I was facing. So I decided to open up about it on my social media platforms.”
In a sea of green smoothies, perfectly curated family photos and #fitfam, Zazon’s approach to social media is a welcomed breath of fresh air. Encouraging her followers to be their most authentic, she reminds them daily of the beauty that lies in a healthy body and a happy heart.
“Health is not 10 per cent body fat, size small/extra small, or a tiny waist with ‘good ratios’. Health means exercising to love your body and improve your quality of life. Health is laughing with family and friends. Health means stepping up for yourself and others every day in the best way you can; Mentally, socially, spiritually, physically, and intellectually,” she said.
And when it comes to swimsuits, Zazon has a message for manufacturers.
“Stop making bathing suits based on a size 0-4 model, and make sizing consistent. Petite, plus size, any body standard label, needs some changing because it makes women feel like crap in their bodies if they go into fitting rooms to find skin hanging out of places that shouldn’t. I mean, for goodness sakes I am 5’5, 170 lbs with about 30 per cent body fat and I have to buy the largest plus size bikini that’s available?! That’s not right,” said Zazon.
Whether she’s posing in sweaty workout gear or speaking about embracing her new body type, Zazon lists the primary key to happiness on social media is unfollowing accounts that don’t make you feel good about yourself. She also encourages her followers to own their stories and their bodies.
“The bravest decision I have ever made was to own my story completely. The good, the bad, and in between,” she said. “I want everyone to feel strong and healthy in their bodies no matter what size they are!”